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Upminster try to draw positives

19:51 08 March 2014

Upminster's Ally Stewart plays the ball up the touchline at Colchester

Upminster's Ally Stewart plays the ball up the touchline at Colchester

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East Div 1: Colchester 2 Upminster 2

Frustrated Upminster had to settle for a point in their battle to avoid relegation at Colchester Garrison.

It was a typical game of two halves, with the visitors building a two-goal lead by the break only to see Colchester hit back with a second-half double, including a late penalty flick, to claim a share of the spoils.

But Upminster had the chances to put the result beyond doubt and now face a crunch home meeting with Bourne Deeping at Coopers next weekend.

Colchester won the first short corner of the game, but Jack Coleman produced a good block before a long ball found captain Steve Wright, who saw his shot blocked by Aaron Sime as he tried to round the keeper.

Upminster opened the scoring on 13 minutes when Glen Noller pounced on a loose ball and got to the byline, before crossing to the far post for Lyndon Ford to sweep home.

And they went close to a second soon after when Harry Jenkins found Wright in the D and latched onto a return pass, but saw his shot pushed out by Sime.

Dave Hadsley beat two men on the left before his pass was touched on by Wright to Noller, whose reverse stick effort was saved.

But Phil Dixon had to be alert at the other end to paw away Nick Town’s drag flick at a short corner, before the hosts saw a good far post chance go begging.

Upminster went close again on 32 minutes when Russ Murphy kept possession well an forced a kick save with a reverse stick shot.

And they doubled their lead moments later when Hadsley and Noller combined well just outside the D and Murphy placed his shot inside the far post.

Colchester went close to a reply before half time, when a short corner was slipped to Dean Campbell, who chipped over Dixon but saw Noller volley the ball off the line.

But Upminster could have gone 3-0 up soon after the restart as Noller’s long ball was collected by Wright and his cross found Ford at the far post, where a first-time effort was blocked by Sime.

Campbell deflected wide of the far post for Colchester before a long aerial found Town, who teed up Vince Moore for a shot which Chris Abrey blocked.

Play became frantic for a few minutes, with space opening up across the field, and Noller’s run on the right created a chance for Murphy to cross into the D, but the ball was behind veteran Matt Malby.

The home side halved the deficit on 51 minutes when Michael Pearce fired a speculative ball into the D and Moore deflected it past Dixon.

And Jenkins received a green card for a foul on Town, before Dixon beat out a short corner strike from Rohan Khaira.

Another corner was deflected wide, as the home side kept the pressure on, and Dixon denied Pearce at another before a follow-up attempt was adjudged to have hit an Upminster body in front of goal and a flick was awarded.

Murphy was shown a green card for his protests, before Khaira sent Dixon the wrong way to level the scores.

But Upminster then had a great chance to snatch victory as Murphy stole possession in midfield and led a 3-on-1 break, only for Wright to send the ball wide of the far post as Noller looked for a tap-in.

Colchester forced two late corners, but Dixon denied Campbell and Coleman produced another timely block to thwart Khaira to ensure at least a point for Upminster, who moved above West Herts and out of the bottom three, level on points with Bourne Deeping with two matches remaining.

Upminster: Dixon, Jenkins, Coleman, C Abrey, Berry, Hadsley, R Murphy, Noller, Wright, G Abrey, Ford, Chiverton, Malby, Stewart.

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